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tv   2020  ABC  June 20, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT

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don't forget, connect with us any time like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. and don't go away, "20/20" starts right now. >> almost $1100. i'm so happy with what i got. >> tonight on "20/20" -- how far would you go? >> i was in big trouble. >> reality slapped you in the face. >> how far would you go to got your life savings from a lying ex? put on disguss to track him down? >> you dated him for six years he nerve noticed or recognized you? >> bet he'll recognize "20/20." >> i'm elizabeth vargas with abc news. how far you go to pay for college. >> student by day and stripper by night. >> sometimes student by night and stripper by day. it depends. >> books down, clothes off hor
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ce-ed ce-eds -- >> how far would you go to sit at the table with hollywood's all-stars? matt, ben, leo and tobey? >> i used to tall tobey hannibal lecter. >> how it come crashing down for the hollywood madam of poker? >> this is the fbi. if i'm not out in an hour they're breaking down the door. >> how far you go? now elizabeth vargas and david muir. >> we start with a question, how far would you go to get love, to death revenge, pay for college or have a baby? those first three, love, money revenge all come into play in the first cat and mouse game. >> that's right, david. a woman scorned and looking for payback, literally. what turned a shy, southern belle into an obsess the steel mag knoll gentleman, whipping through wigs and disguss, playing detective, all to get back what an ex-boyfriend has taken from her, not a life
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savings but her pride. >> reporter: welcome to los angeles and a very serious game of hide and seek. where this woman spends a great deal of time looking for this guy -- and he spends a great deal of time looking over his shoulder trying to avoid he he's also trying to avoid this woman, and this woman, and this woman. what's at stake here? well, she could collect nearly $2 million or go home broke. it's a story of deception, dollars and disguise. katherine underwood is trapped in a bad relationship and even though the romance ended a long time ago, the south carolina native simply can't walk away. her former boyfriend, on the other hand, wants to run away. a departure from the avalanche of affection he once bestowed on katherine in aspen, colorado. >> what were your first impressions that first meeting of him? >> i wasn't really that fond of him.
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he was nice, just not necessarily like any of my other friends. >> reporter: first impressions on that snowy night back in 1994 may not have been memorable. but his name certainly was. budimir drakulic. and his middle name was persistence. >> he had found out where i worked, and came walkin' into the restaurant, and just appeared. >> he wanted to know what i was doing when i got finished, and i met with him. >> reporter: it is the textbook definition of "opposites attract" as the ucla professor of biomedical engineering falls for the coat check girl. how did he begin to win you over? because you weren't interested at first. >> he was just so determined to get to know me, and i was so determined that i wasn't interested. and i think i was just taken by his determination. >> reporter: the professor professes his love for katherine. >> he told me he loved me on the first night. >> on the first night? >> he called her every day, he told her how wonderful she was.
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he kept talking about the life that they would have together. >> reporter: budimir wines and dines katherine. he flies her to his home in l.a. so the two can spend more time together. eventually you did feel like you grew to love him? >> i did. >> were you talking marriage? >> yes, we were talking marriage and children. >> reporter: katherine is fully invested in the relationship and the long distance romance blossoms. after about eight months, budimir pops the question. just not the one she was hoping for. what did he ask you exactly? >> he asked me for $5,000. >> reporter: budimir was away on business and, according to katherine, needed to pay child support and couldn't transfer funds into his account. did you have any doubts, any second thoughts at all about loaning him that $5,000? >> well, no, because he was -- he had a good job. and i for sure thought he would pay me that back. >> reporter: donna anderson has written about katherine's case and has counseled thousands of women to spot the warning signs.
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>> the first time that he asked for money, he didn't ask for it for himself, he asked for it for his kids. and it was kind of like a trial balloon, you know, just to see if she would even respond to that. and she did. >> reporter: one month later, another story, another request for cash. >> he asked if i could loan him 5000 more dollars. >> it was for his mother who didn't speak any english. >> and did you have any reason that point to think, this sounds a little fishy? >> well, well, no. he had several phd's, he was very intelligent. i thought he was a professor at ucla. >> reporter: the money grab continues. this time, katherine says, budimir drakulic tells her he's at edwards air force base conducting a top secret project. so secret, budimir actually whispers during phone conversations because the not supposed to be making outgoing calls from his location.
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the project, once completed, would earn him millions, but he would need $35,000 first to finish the research or risk losing everything. >> and i felt really bad for him. >> was there any part of that story that rang untrue for you? >> no. i wish it did. >> budimir drakulic targeted her because he knew that she was vulnerable. >> reporter: katherine does indeed have money, and not the kind you make by checking coats. >> so the money you inherited mostly came from your grandmother? >> yeah, that's right. >> how much money, when you met him, did you have in savings? >> i had around $450,000. >> reporter: nearly $500,000? she would not have it for long. the fangs of drakulic are out now as he begins to suck katherine's bank account dry with a never-ending series of withdrawals that katherine reluctantly approves.
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>> he needed $8,200 and 9, $9,800, and $9,700. >> so katherine, how much money total did you loan budimir? >> i believe around $400,000. >> you loaned him your entire life savings? >> i loaned him everything. >> reporter: and despite the endless borrowing, katherine stays in the relationship. a combination of misguided trust and a very real fear. >> once katherine underwood had invested $100,000, $200,000, she began to believe that the only way she could even get her money back is if the project became a success. >> it stretched out year after year? >> yeah, i felt trapped. the more i gave him, the more scared i was. >> of losing all your money? >> yeah. >> reporter: when we return, underwood undercover. katherine attempts to follow the man, and the money. the master of disguise gets close to budimir. real close.
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>> announcer: "20/20," how far would you go continues. once again, elizabeth vargas. reporter: it took six long years, but katherine underwood realizes her mistake. she's bankrolled the dreams of budimir drakulic. in return, she got an empty promise and an empty bank account. >> i felt stupid. >> reporter: katherine decides to go on the offensive. she's begins to take a closer look at budimir and his story has some holes in it. first at ucla. >> i found out he had left ucla in october of 1993. he was not a professor at ucla. >> reporter: and what about all those late nights working at edwards air force base?
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katherine says a late night phone call in 2000, woke her up in more ways than one. >> i looked at the caller i.d. -- >> mm-hmm. >> -- and it was a los angeles number. >> he wasn't calling you from the desert? >> no. well, then i knew i was in big trouble. >> reporter: the next day, a devastated katherine flies to l.a unannounced. she recalls the time budimir first showed her around the ucla campus and him talking about playing tennis. so, grasping at straws, she heads to the tennis courts. >> he was playing tennis. he was taking a tennis lesson. >> so in that moment, when you saw him on the tennis court, reality slapped you in the face? >> it sure did. hard. >> he was a liar. >> that's the worst. >> reporter: did you come front him? >> yes. he was very ugly and very nasty. he wanted me to leave and asked me that i had no business coming to los angeles unannounced. >> reporter: from the tennis
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court, katherine goes to superior court and files a lawsuit and wins a judgment. the judge called budimir's conduct "willful, malicious and despicable." at the time, katherine was awarded more than $800,000. today, with interest, that figure has ballooned to more than $1.6 million. budimir has appealed twice and lost twice. truth be told, he didn't look all worried when we spotted him at his private "members only" gym. a lot of people would think, "wait a second, you have promissory notes showing you lent him this money, you have a court order ordering him to pay you back this money -- >> yes. >> why can't you get the money back?" >> he had a team of attorneys. >> reporter: katherine can't afford a team of attorneys. so, underwood goes undercover with a series of low tech getups
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designed to get her close enough to actually hear things and see things that hopefully will lead her to her money. tracking budimir becomes katherine's obsession. she follows him to business meetings, stores, banks. you dated this man for six years. he never noticed or recognized you? >> i worked hard to disguise myself. >> reporter: at one restaurant, the former couple gets seated a little too close for comfort. >> the waiter came up to ask me for my order, and i couldn't talk to him. >> you were afraid he would recognize your voice. >> the voice he would recognize. >> reporter: at that meal, katherine listens as budimir brags to a co-worker. >> i heard him say that they had outsmarted us. >> reporter: katherine's one-woman investigative unit is generating some leads but she can't even cover her own hotel expenses. so where did you stay? >> ashamed to say --
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>> it's okay. >> i'd sleep in the car. >> in the car? >> reporter: the economic burden is being felt -- not just by katherine, but by the brothers who came to her rescue. >> my brother was borrowing against his home. >> he what? >> he borrowed money against his home. >> against his home. >> i just felt like the whole time i was out there i had to -- i had to get my money back. >> reporter: we pay a visit to budimir's home. i'm looking for budimir. i'm elizabeth vargas from abc news. a male voice on the other side of the door asks what we want. for katherine underwood, the answer is simple -- $1.6 million and some closure. >> budimir, you should be ashamed of yourself. you're living a nice life out here in l.a. and you took my
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money and look at you. 11:00, you're not even at work. i want my money back. you took my money and my brother's money and i want you to return it. enough is enough and i want to be paid back. >> reporter: the plea is met with silence. once again, katherine walks away empty-handed. to level the playing field for katherine, we enlisted the help of two heavy hitters. first, nelson tucker who walks softly and carries a big badge. let's just say he's got a certain way of making people pay up. and bob nygaard, a street smart private eye who has appeared on "20/20" before busting scams. >> she was conned out of a lot of money and she deserves to get that money back. that's the bottom line. >> reporter: the p.i. does some digging and uncovers a disturbing detail.
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even as drakulic was borrowing money from katherine back in the '90s, he was earning $180,000 a year at a tech company in california. >> talk about adding insult to injury. it really is a travesty of justice. >> reporter: nygaard makes a very good living playing his own version of hide and seek. >> so, here he comes. coming out now with his food. >> reporter: on this day, he's tailing drakulic to see where he works. that question is answered when budimir pulls into biosig technologies. >> you have budimir working for biosig, collectin a salary and you have katherine not collecting any of that money. that's wrong. that's just flat out wrong. >> reporter: and as the private eye learns, budimir doesn't work cheap. his total compensation in salary and stock at biosig for the past 3 years totals more than $1 million. but, on paper, he is a phantom who appears to have no assets. >> yes, i was amazed that he was making this kind of money and
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not doing something to try to settle the case and have it go away. >> reporter: nelson tucker is a process server extraordinaire who has served papers on everyone from celebrities to heads of state. today, he's going to biosig not to serve budimir but to serve the company that pays budimir in an attempt to garnish his wages. >> do you know budimir drakulic? >> yes, he works with us but for some reason he's not here today. >> is he normally here? >> yes. >> it's very important the company does not disregard this order. this is a court order and a file has been opened with the county sheriff, and so if you fail to comply with this order -- you meaning the company -- there are repercussions. >> i understand. >> reporter: so now budimir -- unmasked to his company and to the world -- must move quickly. if he fails to respond to the court order by next week, biosig
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must legally deduct 25% of his income and send it to the l.a. sheriff's office for katherine. but until that money is in her bank katherine underwood is not celebrating. she's come too far and waited too long. >> he could've given me my money back at any time, and i would've walked away and never looked back. he put me on a waiting game for all of those years. and he let me wait, and wait. where's my money? >> show her the money. we'll see if he does. so, how far would you go to get back money from an ex? we're live tweeting tonight so let us know using #abc2020. next -- how far would you go? to sit at the table with movie stars like ben? matt, leo, tobey. >> tobey would put leo in the
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how far would you go not just to make millions but to be in thick with hollywood's a-list, friendly with actors on an first name basis, matt, ben, leo? one woman nearly paid with her life to be part of the high-stakes world, even when she was 3,000 miles away if hollywood. here is amy robach tonight with where the chips have fallen. >> reporter: in the heart of hollywood, hidden beneath the notorious viper room, a narrow hallway leads into a musty room, a poker table, and the secret world of molly bloom. so this is where it all began. >> yes. >> reporter: she was the voluptuous hollywood madam of poker, and she says she lured billionaires and celebrities
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alike. faces you know from the red carpet drawn to her green felt table every week for an underground high-stakes game of no-limit texas hold 'em. >> this was a $100,000 chip. >> reporter: according to molly ten years ago she was running errands for a rich entrepreneur when she took her first step into a shadowy world. at 27, she was given the responsibility to host the games for her boss and his high-rolling poker buddies, including leonardo dicaprio. >> he sat right there with his headphones. >> reporter: and tobey maguire. >> tobey was sitting right there. >> reporter: tobey and leonardo together in the film "the great gatsby" and together in cards. >> and how much money was played in that first game? >> people had probably, you know, six-figure losses, six-figure wins. >> reporter: a former cocktail waitress from small-town colorado, molly was immediately intoxicated by the mixture of glamour, wealth, secrecy and most of all, the cash tips she received from the winners.
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>> that first night, how much money did you make in tips? >> around $3,000. >> and what was your reaction? >> i got in my car, i locked my car and i just was like screaming. >> reporter: and nobody took a cut from the pot so molly's hollywood game and her tips were perfectly legal. >> and then the money just kept getting better. >> it did. >> reporter: for molly, perfecting the game for the a-list players meant studying their poker personalties. >> all right. i'll call the two grand. i'll gamble. >> reporter: matt damon, she says, was nothing like the poker addict who gambled everything in the film "rounders." >> he was lovely, modest, down-to-earth, a nice, smart guy. and to further that point, he never came back. >> reporter: she says damon's pal, ben affleck, was a regular whose pechant for gambling has made the news. >> security at the hard rock hotel and casino told affleck quote, "you're too good" and politely escorted him away from the blackjack table. >> he had the gambling gene. >> no question. >> reporter: just like the
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mild-mannered peter parker could morph into spiderman, molly says tobey maguire assumed an alter ego when he put on his poker face. >> he was bloodthirsty. >> i used to call tobey "hannibal lecter" because he could just talk someone off of a good hand. >> really? >> just the person would be looking at their hand and know that they have the nuts, which is the top hand, and he could talk them out of it. >> he won a lot. >> yeah. >> how much money would be in that pot? >> six figures almost all the time. >> and how much was he winning? >> over the years? millions. >> how did he handle a loss? >> not well. >> reporter: if spiderman was a poker shark, molly says "the wolf of wall street" was less predator, more bait, often playing with chips bought by tobey. >> tobey would put leo in the game in order to attract bigger players. >> so leo really wasn't into playing the game. he was there as the magnet. >> yeah. >> reporter: molly says she realized she could control the
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game, satisfy tobey and the regulars, and slake her burgeoning thirst for cash if she began recruiting new players. in poker parlance, whales. >> what's a whale? >> they have a lot of money and limited skill. >> they need to lose sometimes? >> most of the time, you know? >> most of the time. >> i mean, to keep these guys happy. >> right. >> reporter: and if a whale wasn't drawn in by her a-list actors, molly says she had an ace in the hole, alex rodriguez. and here's a shocker. he once denied ever playing in the game. >> a-rod was a novice player but there's something that happens to grown men. no matter how successful they are, when a professional athlete comes into the room and they're reduced to kind of like, you know -- >> teenage girls? >> yeah. >> reporter: having stars at her beck and call gave molly a sense that she belonged in their world. >> it felt amazing. really amazing. and i felt like i was really, really good at something. there was a definite rush to it. >> reporter: and a mainline of
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cash injected weekly by the good will of her winning players. tips of five to ten percent added up and she says by 2009, her reported income topped $4 million. but molly had designs on something bigger. she left the celebrities behind and moved to new york and the promise of even higher stakes. she set up a table in the posh plaza hotel and took aim at the big apple's ready supply of poker-drunk russian billionaires and hedge fund managers. she says her take spiked up to $150,000 in a single game. >> i was hosting a game in new york, and there was $5 to $7 million on the table. >> reporter: even molly admits greed got the best of her and she was persuaded to take a cut of every pot, called a rake, which is illegal, and for the first time, crossed a line. you know gambling is a staple of organized crime. >> yes. >> did it feel wrong?
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>> yeah, it did. absolutely. >> but you didn't quit? >> i did not. >> i'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse. >> reporter: and just like in the movie "the godfather," molly says when two mobsters made her an offer she couldn't refuse, that she pay them for operating on their turf, she refused. >> they sent somebody to my apartment and he put a gun in my mouth. he hit me in the face and kicked me in the ribs and then just said, you know, "i think you'll feel differently the next time, you know, we have this conversation." >> who did you call? >> i didn't call anybody. >> and you were deep into this world now. >> i was deep. almost one of my first thoughts after he left was, "how am i gonna fix my face before the next game?" >> you never thought about, "i got to get out of this world. i got to leave?" wow. >> reporter: if a violent attack
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by the mob wasn't enough to get her out of the game, something else was. >> 17 fbi agents raided one of my games and i wasn't at that game. and that was terrifying. and i logged into my bank accounts and they were all seized, all frozen. so that was a pretty clear indication that i was in trouble. >> and you didn't have any money. >> no money. >> reporter: she fled home to colorado. >> i lived in the mountains. i started to live a very simple life. my phone was crickets. >> reporter: she would lie low for two years, writing a book, "molly's game," about her journey through the world of celebrities, billionaires and poker without knowing the ending. until the fbi finally caught up with her. >> and, you know, they put me in handcuffs and sat me down on my couch and put this piece of paper in front of me that says, "the united states of america versus molly bloom."
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>> reporter: and just last month, molly bloom made one more gamble. in a federal courtroom, throwing herself at the mercy of a judge by pleading guilty to illegal gambling in hopes of staying out of jail. all-in with a solid hand, she won, getting off with a sentence of probation. >> is there any wisdom you gleaned from observing the game of poker and what you went through? >> know when to fold. pay attention to the signs. they're there. when things start to feel like you're on the wrong path, pay attention to those. >> that's when you fold 'em. >> yeah. >> molly bloom's book goes on sale early next week. we'll be right back. next, how far would you go to graduate from college in a cap and gown? meet the co-eds and jocks who are dropping the gown and nearly everything else to afford it. >> how much of your college are you able to pay for by taking your clothes off?
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okay, here's the question, how far would you go to pay for college? we reported extensively here on outrageous tuition some kids and their parents are now paying. tonight the stupts, men and women, figuring out away to strip away student loans and high tuition. get ready for the big reveal. here's ju you why chang. i'm maggie. i'm pre-law at the university of maryland-baltimore county. >> i'm madison. i'm getting my masters in social work. >> i'm jade, and i'm getting my bachelors in forensic psychology. >> reporter: meet the young women in hot pursuit of higher education. we are not using their full names because they have a little secret. they are part of a new generation taking off their clothes so they don't have to take on college debt.
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essentially you're a student by day and stripper by night. >> yeah. sometimes a student by night, and a stripper by day. it depends. >> reporter: maggie says she gets straight a's as a double major. spanish/poly-sci. every other weekend, she takes a 3-hour train ride from her home in baltimore to manhattan. >> sometimes i do homework -- >> reporter: to the bright lights, big city dance club called "scores." >> i have a class that ends at 5:15. i'll get over to the city by around 5:30-5:45, hop on a bus or train around 6:00, and then be at work by like 8:30. >> reporter: work means pole dancing in a g-string, for men who show their appreciation by giving them tips. >> i'm an entertainer. and what i provide is company and entertainment. it's seducing them -- >> it's definitely sales. >> we're selling our time and our company. >> reporter: and so you're willing to sell your time and your company in order to pay tuition? >> exactly, and going to school full time, you don't really have
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time to work 40 hours a week. there's so many jobs that just won't pay a wage that covers the cost of tuition so while i'm young, this is a terrific opportunity. >> reporter: this past saturday, maggie took home more in one night than she would have working 40 hours as a waitress. >> almost $1100. i'm so happy with what i got. >> reporter: stripping just four nights a week at scores, the money adds up, fast. how much do you make a year? >> i make about a $180,000 a year. >> reporter: that's incredible. that's what a first year law associate makes, if not more. you'll take a pay cut when you become a lawyer. >> i will. >> reporter: what do their parents think of this eccentric solution to the college debt problem? >> my dad, he's very supportive of just, you know, the work i do, just doesn't want to talk about it. >> my mom, she said that she was disappointed, because it was exploitation. >> reporter: but these college students say they feel less
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exploited doing this than, say, waiting tables. >> i've actually found of any job i've held, this to be the least exploitative. as a waitress, i was amazed at how rude some customers could be. >> reporter: but that doesn't mean they dont feel the sting when people find out what they do. >> i've gotten some comments, but people definitely make a point of mentioning it, and i feel like there are people that define me by that. >> reporter: a lot of judgment? >> sure. >> reporter: but while these women say they still get shamed for being in this line of work, men get celebrated, like channing tatum in "magic mike." it turns out tatum knew the value of a buck before he became famous. here he is in a hula skirt stripping in real life shown on tmz. ♪ it's something more and more men like dino are on to. >> reporter: so what made you think "all right, i'll try stripping?" >> not to sound cocky, but you
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look the mirror, and it's a great way to make money, it's easy, it's fun, you go on stage and perform. >> reporter: to earn tuition, dino, who's studying international trade, performs at new york's hunk-o-mania. how much of your college are you able to pay by taking clothes off? >> pretty much all of it. >> reporter: really? >> i would say all of it, and a little extra as well. >> reporter: and when his buddies discover his extra-curricular activity, the response is overwhelmingly positive. >> my friends think its awesome they say "oh, i wish i could do that." they really admire the fact that i do that. >> reporter: 18-year-old egypt says she doesn't get admired for stripping, but she feels she should get respect. >> doing this means proving to people that strippers aren't always the stereotypical slut. we work hard, even if it is showing our bodies. >> reporter: egypt got her inspiration from an unlikely role model, the infamous duke university porn star, belle knox.
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>> i read an interview on knox in a "rolling stone" magazine, and i'm like "she's 18 and doing porn. why not me?" you know? become a stripper. >> reporter: egypt was eager to meet knox when she made at appearance at her strip club, the show palace. >> what are you studying?? >> criminal justice. >> oh, wow, you want to be a lawyer? i want to be a lawyer, too. >> nice to meet you! >> reporter: and belle knox knows well the struggle to pay hefty duke university tuition. >> i was sitting in my dorm room one day and just completely stressed about how the heck i was gonna pay any of my bills, and i said to my roommate, "screw it, i'll just be a porn star." >> reporter: to make enough to pay her monthly $4300 tuition bill, knox says -- >> my options were work three jobs. even then, i'd probably only make about $1,000 a month. porn has really given me a lot of financial independence. >> reporter: in fact, so much independence that she told "time" magazine just this week she no longer qualifies for any financial aid.
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in scores clubs across the country, there are almost 500 young women dancing to pay tuition. >> reporter: so did that surprise you? >> shocked me. so we thought about it. and we said, "you know, with all these entertainers going to school, why not try to put a scholarship together and do it through, a pole-dancing contest, where the winner would get $50,000 over four years to pay for her college. >> reporter: you going to go for the scores scholarship now? >> yes, i am. >> reporter: and if they don't win, ironically, they'll have to rely on the conversational skills they've honed in the strip club. >> it's the girls who know how to talk to people. >> that's how you hook them. >> reporter: once again proving that the sexiest body part is the brain? >> exactly. next -- how far would you go to have a baby? it's not what it looks like. >> come on in. >> thank you. >> this is my husband, richard. >> a donation from a virtual stranger, all to have a waeb. >> what did you google, "free
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so, how far would you go to start family, have a baby? we have followed this next couple on their incredible journey for more than four years and not just how far they have gone but how far someone in our "20/20" audience went. one of you watchings out there, to help them along. >> my monitor, it says that i have a high day right now so it's a good time to inseminate. >> reporter: like millions of couples, beth and richard are on a quest to have a baby. but unlike most, their labor of love is launching them on a cross-country odyssey.
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their destination, a nondescript hotel room. >> that's pretty much my whole gamut of fertility products. if you want a baby it's worth it. >> reporter: and an intimate encounter with a perfect stranger. >> okay, he just texted me back, says he's on the way. >> so, why the need to get pregnant? >> i've really felt the need, ever since we got married. >> reporter: their saga started when they discovered richard's vasectomy could not be reversed. they've spent years taking in 60 foster children and adopted two of the neediest but beth yearned to give birth herself. >> i wanted to know what it feels to have the baby inside of you. >> reporter: after two years and $14,000 worth of sperm banks and artificial inseminations, beth and richard just couldn't afford any more. they'd nearly lost hope. and then one day beth turned on her computer and clicked onto a brave new world. what did you google, "free sperm?" >> free sperm. >> you really can find everything on the internet. >> yes, you really can.
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>> reporter: to beth's surprise, it turns out there is an entire online universe devoted to free sperm donation. sites like the known donor registry. >> having a child is a big deal, and there's a lot of people out there saying, i don't want to have a child with somebody that i haven't talked to. that i can't meet face to face. >> reporter: beth gardner founded it offers a list of hundreds men willing to donate free sperm to thousands of women desperate to conceive. >> they have chat rooms, they have forums. >> what, do i click on something, and a picture pops up? >> yeah, you get a picture, where they're born, where they went to college. >> reporter: reporter tony dokoupil spent months investigating this new online world. >> it's a weird blend of facebook,, and a traditional sperm bank where you get all this medical information about this person who you might procreate with. >> reporter: tony estimates thousands of people use these sites. his research took him to some unexpected places where people
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donate sperm. >> a fairly common location for the exchange is starbucks. >> starbucks? >> yeah. this will be happening right in that one bathroom they always have. >> and you use a cup that, like, any cup, or a coffee cup? >> i mean, they'll use a sterile cup. >> okay. >> you can get them at a drugstore. hand the cup to the recipient, who will then go into the bathroom. >> reporter: going online, beth discovered the known donor registry and a donor named drew sollenberger. >> i listed myself on that site, and fairly quickly, i started getting contacts from multiple individuals. >> reporter: drew is a brilliant 29-year-old software engineer who does work for government agencies. he's also a member of the brotherhood who give away their sperm rather than earn thousands of dollars selling it to sperm banks. >> you know that there is, probably, out there, a bit of an assumption that guys like you, are, you know, a little -- >> many people do distrust sperm donors.
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but there are many good donors. >> reporter: drew is an extreme altruist who donates thousands of dollars to charity and even donated one of his kidneys to a child. today, drew is traveling to a maryland hotel room. >> this is how you have a baby. >> reporter: beth and richard have come here all the way from wyoming to inseminate with the man they've never met before. >> i'm just curious. what do you use? i mean, in the movies, you see a turkey baster. >> you just use a regular syringe. draw in the semen with the syringe, you lay down on the bed, prop your hips up. what do you say? >> come on in! >> thank you. >> this is my husband, richard. >> hi. nice to meet you. >> hi, drew. good to meet you, too. >> why were you so convinced that drew should be your donor? >> i had talked to him, and he told me about the charities he gave to. i knew he wasn't there for the wrong reasons. i just knew he was a good guy, >> reporter: beth and drew conduct a kind of awkward first dance. >> good to meet you.
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at a traditional sperm bank, there's the assurance that the semen has been frozen for six months and thoroughly tested for diseases. that is not the case here. >> when he donated his kidney to a child he had to be screened by the hospital for, i'm sure, every possible disease, and he's also been screened for stds, and he's given me that paperwork. >> but you're really trusting. basically trusting that he is who he says he is. >> yeah. >> reporter: armed with a good gut feeling, beth is ready to go to the next step. >> okay, so we'll go downstairs, then, and i'll have my phone on me. >> okay. >> okay. thanks drew. all right. >> reporter: drew retreats to the bathroom with a cup and his imagination. downstairs, beth and richard don't have to wait long for drew's text. >> he's ready for us. >> reporter: now it's time for beth to begin her part of her part of the process. >> it's ready for you in there. >> okay. thanks. >> you don't feel embarrassed, he doesn't feel embarrassed? >> i think my husband feels more embarrassed than we do.
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>> is that true, richard? >> i'm sure it is. >> well, thank you. >> thank you. >> we'll see you tomorrow. you ready? >> yeah. >> okay. >> reporter: while beth positions the pillows to ensure maximum effect. >> get a couple pillows to put my hips up on. >> final delivery of this gift is entrusted to richard. >> slip off my shoes. so we inseminated. the syringe is still in, we'll leave it in for probably about 15 minutes. thank you for your support with this. i feel like it's important for him to be there. that way i can say he was there at conception. he will be the father of the baby. >> reporter: and richard is there over the next five days. as beth and drew repeat the now-familiar ritual of insemination. >> he says he's done. >> reporter: they will know in a few anxious weeks if beth is pregnant. you know that there are people out there watching this right now thinking -- >> we're crazy? >> well, we are. >> or naïve. >> yeah. >> yeah. >> well, i mean, it is a leap of faith. but it's what's best for us.
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>> reporter: there is one more leap of faith some women are willing to take to have a baby involving a hotel room but no cup, no syringe. it's called natural insemination, or "n.i." in other words, having sex with people you meet online specifically to get pregnant. >> at least a third of women click that they're available for n.i. as an option. how many actually go through with it, i don't know. >> reporter: but for beth and her husband richard, that is a step too far. unfortunately, after they inseminated with drew in that maryland hotel room beth did not get pregnant. but they are continuing to try and have a baby. >> i have this really strong urge that i want to have a biological child, if i have to work extra hard to get it, i'll do it. i don't give up. >> and she hasn't had to, thanks to a "20/20" viewer. after originally seeing beth and
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richard's story an anonymous doern wrote them a check for $48,000, another for five new rounds of ivf with their partner, drew. and they're still at it. >>
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